Finland’s history of trade with Japan spans longer than 100 years, when the two countries formally established diplomatic relations.

According to Takashi Murata, Ambassador of Japan to Finland, “The Finnish and Japanese have many similar characteristics and share common values represented by three Ps, that are punctuality, patience and prudence.”

“The Finnish life philosophy of sisu correlates to the Japanese Bushido, a code for living a life of honor, self-discipline, bravery and simplicity,” he said.

These shared values and ethics have brought Finland and Japan closer, with the latter being Finland’s third-largest trade partner outside Europe.

Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari noted that Finland’s exports to Japan are growing in double digits.

“Apart from our well-known and continuously strengthening cooperation with Japan in the forestry industry, our ties are becoming more comprehensive through the exchange of consumer products, innovations, creative ideas, and tourism,” Skinnari said.

Over 40 direct flights from Japan to Helsinki connect to over 60 other destinations every week, making Finland an important hub for Japanese businesspeople and travelers.

The European Union-Japan economic partnership agreement, which entered into force earlier this year, opens up new opportunities for Finnish and Japanese businesses to cooperate and grow together.

Juha Pitkänen, chairman of the Finnish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce, said that the agreement is changing the perception of Finnish companies about the challenges of doing business in Japan.

“It signals that the Japanese economy is opening up and is enticing more companies to look into growth opportunities in Japan, even in niche markets,”
Pitkänen said.

“Forecasts show that the agreement could invigorate, for example, exports of agricultural and technological products from Finland to Japan, as well as automotive and white goods exports from Japan to Finland,” said Timo Vuori, executive vice president for international affairs at the Finland Chamber of Commerce.

Moving forward, Mikael Pentikäinen, CEO of The Federation of Finnish Enterprises, said: “I encourage more Finnish companies to do business with Japan and explore the Japanese market, while at the same time I hope to see more Japanese companies doing business in Finland. We are great partners who share the same values and can build a strong alliance of freedom.”